What will 2024-25 UConn men’s basketball roster look like as it chases three-peat?

The UConn men’s basketball program had an idea of which roles it needed to fill and who it wanted to fill them, and the back-to-back champs appear to have put together a roster that can contend for a third straight national title.

With at least four starters headed to the NBA, UConn has at least five newcomers involved in its 2024-25 plan and will count on young returners to develop. The Huskies have two open scholarship spots and will likely wait until later this month, when Alex Karaban decides whether he’ll remain in the draft. The deadline for him to withdraw and return to college is May 29.

One of two players to start on both national championship teams (Tristen Newton is the other), Karaban would almost certainly put the Huskies in contention for a third consecutive title if he returns. Even with his decision yet to be made, the team moved up to No. 4 in CBS Sports’ way-too-early preseason rankings on Tuesday.

No men’s program has won more than two championships in a row since UCLA won seven straight from 1967-73.

“Sometimes when you are defending something that’s important to you, means everything to you, you defend it with your life. And our expectation is that we’re gonna defend these championships that we have now, literally defend it with our lives,” coach Dan Hurley said in an interview with Andy Katz on March Madness socials Wednesday.

“The chance to make history like that, you’re talking about John Wooden and those players, the Bill Waltons, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – you’re talking about the biggest legends in the history of college basketball that you have a chance to try to join in an even more exclusive club. That is absolutely somewhere toward front-of-mind right now.”

Here is a look at the roster as it stands Wednesday, the last day players can enter the transfer portal:


No matter which way it plays out, the Huskies will have a smaller point guard than they’ve had with Tristen Newton the last two years. Newton, 6 feet 6, used his size particularly on the glass, where he led the team in rebounds for most of the season and finished averaging a career-best 6.6 per game.

The competition for the starting point guard role looks to be between incoming four-star recruit Ahmad Nowell, 6 feet, and two-time national champion Hassan Diarra, 6-2, who announced Tuesday night that he will return for his fifth year. Diarra was Big East Sixth Man of the Year and had an argument for Most Improved with his jump into that role last season. Nowell, the No. 35 player in his class according to 247Sports’ composite ranking, is a physical defender and a playmaker that could step in and make an impact right away.

Aidan Mahaney, the second transfer portal addition of the spring, has all of the prerequisites to be an immediate contributor at the 2-guard spot after two successful seasons at Saint Mary’s.

“He can really shoot it and score, but we’re equally excited about what he can bring as a playmaker. We expect big things from him this year,” Hurley said in a release after Mahaney signed his NLI on Wednesday.

And Solo Ball, after dipping his toes into the water as a freshman, has a chance to earn himself an increased role as he looks to make a successful second-year jump like several UConn players before him. Ball started 10 games as a freshman as classmate Stephon Castle, a projected lottery pick, recovered from a knee injury early in the season, but saw his minutes decline as the season wound down.


Liam McNeeley was the biggest get for Hurley and staff this month. The No. 9 player in ESPN’s Class of 2024 rankings, the McDonalds All-American comes in as one of the programs highest-rated recruits. A shooter at 6-7 who can impact the game all over the court, McNeeley should be able to step in and make an immediate impact.

Jaylin Stewart got going late in his freshman season and was able to make an impact as an extra forward off the bench. He is a key piece as a sophomore who should earn a significant role if he’s able to continue developing over the summer and into the fall.

Jayden Ross, a rising sophomore, and Isaiah Abraham, an incoming freshman, seem to be in similar spots as UConn enters the year with yet another deep roster. Ross averaged only 4.4 minutes per game in his first year, mostly in garbage time, but impressed coaches entering the season with his ability to shoot and the way he uses his length on defense.


UConn has had tremendous success with a strong, “two-headed monster,” at center for each of the last two seasons. This year, though, the team won’t have the advantage of a 7-foot-2 Donovan Clingan to deny shots at the rim. Clingan, exiting as a sophomore, is projected to be a lottery pick.

But the staff got to work immediately, bringing in Michigan transfer Tarris Reed Jr., 6-10, 265 pounds, to team up with returning Samson Johnson in the front court. Johnson has three years of experience in Storrs waiting his turn behind Adama Sanogo and Clingan, and stepped up as his minutes rose to 16.1 per game last year with seven starts.

Reed, who visited during the championship parade and was the first new addition this spring, is far and away the more physical of the two. He averaged 9.0 points and 7.2 rebounds with 1.4 blocks in 26.5 minutes per game for Michigan last year. Youssouf Singare is also set to return after playing limited minutes behind Clingan and Johnson as a freshman, and could develop into a viable third option.

Why transfer Aidan Mahaney decided to leave Saint Mary’s and join UConn’s bid for three-peat